From among today’s life-threatening diseases such as cancer, respiratory ailments, STDs, and others, one that is not mostly given focus is the celiac disease. Health experts today are urging everyone to become aware of this health condition. Women, who are more commonly diagnosed than men, need to be more cautious and attentive since this disease can be sometimes difficult to identify.
So, here are the important things you should know about celiac diseases- the silent killer in your gut.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease, according to health experts, is an autoimmune disorder which is triggered by the body’s overreacting to gluten. Thus, it is often associated with digestive or gastrointestinal problems. There is estimated 3 millions of American who are diagnosed with this disease. However, since this disease is not easily identified, it can be affecting millions of other people in the world. The lack of understanding of its causes and symptoms is the main cause why it’s not yet thoroughly advanced in awareness worldwide.
It was found out that celiac disease tends to be hereditary because it is a genetic disorder. That’s why if you have a relative who has been diagnosed from it you can be at risk as well.
Celiac disease is said to be most frequent to occur among Caucasians and individuals who are suffering from other diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes, Down Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and Turner Syndome.
What Causes Celiac Disease?
What really causes celiac disease? Is it all about gastrointestinal problem? Or, can it be acquired through other instances? These can be some of the various questions you have in mind.
Celiac disease is commonly associated with gastrointestinal issues, but it can also affect the reproductive system – one reason why women must be more knowledgeable with this disease. That issue can lead to other complications such as miscarriages, infertility, and other pregnancy issues.
Not only that, celiac disease is also said to be caused by a nerve-racking event like a viral infection, traumatic emotional triggers, surgery, and others.
However, the clear and established cause of this disease is the immune response to gluten. Gluten is a kind of protein commonly found in rye, barley, and wheat. (now you’re thinking your morning bread, right?).
In some people, when they consumed a diet which has gluten, an enzyme known as tissue transglutaminase converts gluten into a chemical which results to an immune response. What does it do? It causes the lining of the small intestine to be inflamed since the villi in the lining of the stomach which are there to have a normal absorption of nutrients become dulled and destroyed. When that happens, the nutrients are not properly absorbed in the body and can even lead to organ damages such as the liver, brain, and bone. Growth can be also altered and development of the body is hindered.
Celiac and Gluten: How they are Related?
As previously mentioned, celiac disease is closely related to gluten intolerance. It is an autoimmune in which some individuals react to gluten – a protein compound commonly found in wheats, barley, rye, or oats.
When people with celiac disease consume gluten, it will cause damage to the small intestine. When this happens, the body will not be able to absorb the nutrients it needs to function properly.
According to Mayo Clinic, celiac disease is triggered due to the interaction between genes and consuming foods with gluten. Gastrointestinal infections and bacteria on the gut contribute to a more rapid development of celiac disease.
Symptoms of Celia Disease
The sad part with celiac disease is that it is rarely diagnosed. You might already suffering from it, but due to some similar symptoms with other diseases, this is often disregarded. So, how do you know that you are at risk or already have the disease? Aside from intestinal problems, the following are the common symptoms of celiac disease you should be aware of:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pains and cramps
- Rashes (also known as dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Bones density loss
- Mild to severe heache
- Joint pain
- Canker sores on mouth
- Weight loss
- Irregular or absence of menstruation
Women are not only the ones at risk for this disease. Since children are more usual to have intestinal problems, the symptoms of celiac disease may also be present. These include:
- Swelling on the belly
- Nausea and vomiting
- Foul-smelling stool
- Weight loss
- Altered growth
Note: Not everyone with celiac disease will have these signs and symptoms, that’s why diagnosis can be tricky and difficult. That’s why an advice from the expert is what required.
How is Celiac Disease Diagnosed?
Do you know that researchers deemed that only 20% of people with the disease got the proper diagnosis? Some of the patients are diagnosed only after years of acquiring the disease. While the damage in the intestine can be slow, there are still some signs you must be attentive of to get an idea when to consult a physician.
Once you’re experiencing indigestion, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and difficulty in digestive processes, it’s the time to visit your physician to seek medical advice.
Your doctor will use 2 types of blood tests to help analyze if you hace celiac disease:
- Serology, tests that search and study for certainantibodies
- Genetic testing,to test for human leukocyte antigens to combat celiac disease
Treatment for Celiac Disease
Currently, there are no specific drugs to treat celiac disease. But there are continuous studies to find out more information on how to develop medications for this threatening disease.
The only recommended solution is to maintain a gluten-free diet so the small intestine can be safe from further damage. In other words, it’s all about conscious eating. Stay away from bread and other baked products. It’s also important to consult a dietician so you can have a better understanding of what a gluten-free diet is comprised of.
If you’ve been diagnosed from celiac disease, then a profound sense of discipline is needed. Constant consultation with your doctor is also a great way to be better informed with the disease.
And hey, ladies…do not forget: “Prevention is always better than cure”, so make sure you’re more of on a healthy journey!